My former self, the version pre Edinburgh would have turned her nose up at the idea of second-hand shopping. I just didn’t get the appeal. My only experience of them in Ireland would have been to donate bags of my old clothes and leave as quickly as I came in. They weren’t the most inviting of places.
I was amazed when I moved here at the amount of charity shops that were dotted around the city. You couldn’t avoid them. Also delighted to discover that these (well most of them) were far from the musty, jumbled up collection of ‘stuff’ that I had experienced back at home. It didn’t take long for me to catch on to the thrill of finding some hidden gems at ludicrous prices, even if it was just a mug.
Fast Forward a couple of years to the early weeks of parenting and turns out that browsing charity shops was a pretty good way to pass the time with a newborn. That, and the daily trips to local cafes, to throw my maternity pay at mediocre decaf coffees and too much cake.
I definitely no longer have that luxury of time,but I do still like to pop in when I get the chance.
Like many parents I love buying clothes for my little one, often spending more on baby stuff than I would on myself. It’s hard not to spend a small fortune when it’s all so seriously cute. But every now and again I do get a kick out of finding something second-hand at a fraction of the original price. And lets face it, with the speed babies grow, they hardly get more than five minutes in an outfit. Best of all the money goes to such worthy causes.
Here is a list of my favourite places to find treasures in Edinburgh for your little treasure:
St Columba’s Hospice bookshop, Montagu Terrace EH3 5QR
I almost don’t want to tell anyone about this and keep it all for myself.. This goes at the top of the list because I have been filling my bookshelves with all the classics,thanks to this gem of a shop. The books are always in mint condition and with prices as low as 50p it’s a no brainer really. They also have a play area for children and sell local organic eggs! I never leave this place empty handed.
Barnardo’s Stockbridge, EH4 1LR
Well presented and organised children’s section. Generally best for baby/newborn items, almost always more selection for girls clothes. Designer labels and good quality, Jo Jo Maman Bebe, Joules, Gap,White Company and so on. Good range of toys and books. Sometimes a little difficult to navigate around with a buggy but do able. So many lovely coffee shops next door to recharge the batteries too.
Mary’s living and Giving shop for Save The Children, Stockbridge EH4 1HN
Another Stockbridge favourite, this ’boutique’ has downsized their children’s area to a small corner. But gets full marks for the most organised and well presented charity shop. Thanks to the help of the amazing Mary Portas. Again better choice in girls clothing but I have found the odd treasure like books and wooden puzzles (aswell as a few items for myself thank you very much!). Nice staff too which is always a bonus.
The British Heart Foundation, Stockbridge EH4 1Hx
Big store, well presented and organised. Good selection of children’s clothes & toys. Bigger range for older children.
The Jack and Jill market
Okay so this is not a shop but absolutely has to be mentioned. This market takes place every couple of months on Sunday’s at the Meadow Bank stadium. It’s Scotland’s largest nearly new baby market that takes place all around the country. Here you can browse and buy from the owners stalls, get unbelievable bargains, beautiful quality and meet lovely people along the way. Get there early to get the best bits, or arrive before closing to practice your bartering skills… I had no idea how gratifying I would find paying 50p for an item that was advertised at £2! I once bought a series of “that’s not my..” books for £10!, and a Chico baby carrier for a fiver! This is how I get my thrills now! Also plenty of free parking too. Check out their website for upcoming events.
Marie Curie Cancer Care, Montagu Terrace EH3 5QX
Another great place on my doorstep. Always worth popping in for a look. Small children’s section but good choice of books, and if your lucky you could find some incredible quality wooden toys here for just a few quid. And all for a great cause
The British Heart Foundation, Great Junction Street EH6 5HX
Big shop, with a small but generally good quality children’s area. Well organised in terms of sizes/gender. Again high end labels at great prices. Toys and books also and cheery staff at the counter.
Shelter, Stockbride EH4 1HH
The Guardian voted this place as one of the “best charity shops for finding celebrity cast offs” back in 2013.According to the article people can sometimes queue for up to two hours during sales. I would never have that patience, bargain or not! This place is generally quite busy and that alongside the narrow overcrowded layout can make it unappealing when shopping with a buggy. But the children’s section at the back does have a good selection of books and is worth checking out.
Ps: The city has dozens more second hand shops, the list above focuses on just Leith and Stockbridge.Newington for example has the highest concentration of charity shops in the city. I never make it that far into town these days, the thought alone is exhausting;).